Sid Hartman: Steinbach enjoying second tour with Twins

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 3, 2014 - 11:09 PM

The former All-Star catcher is happy to be coaching after ending his career with his hometown team.

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Terry Steinbach blew a bubble in the Target Field dugout standing next to fellow Twins coach Tom Brunansky last month.

Photo: TOM OLMSCHEID • Associated Press,

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Terry Steinbach is in his second season as Twins bench coach, the second in command to manager Ron Gardenhire. The New Ulm native, Gophers product and former Oakland and Twins catcher said he always thought there was a chance he would be back at the major league level.

“I just knew that I played the game a lot and really respected the game and enjoyed the game,” Steinbach said. “I thought maybe someday if everything works out that I would get back into it.”

Steinbach got the chance to manage two games against Kansas City while Gardenhire was attending a funeral in Ohio, and the Twins won both.

“It helps a lot when you score 17 runs in two games. I mean, there wasn’t a lot of moves to make,” he said. “Gardy is a great manager. If there’s anybody to learn from, he’s really good at what he does. For me being very inexperienced on the staff here, it’s a good guy that I can sit back and learn a lot from.”

Steinbach played 10 seasons with the Athletics, making three All-Star teams, before becoming a free agent following the 1996 season and signing with the Twins. He finished his 14-year career with a .271 batting average, 162 home runs and 745 RBI.

“You just never know how your future is going to go as a player, things worked out pretty good. I was a free agent and the Twins were open to me coming here. It was a good place to end my career,” Steinbach said. “You know as it worked out, I got to spend 13 years at home raising my kids and family and coaching them [at Wayzata] and being part of that.

“The first year that they went off to school and [his wife] Mary and I were empty nesters, it opened up that I had the opportunity to come here and be a coach. Things have worked out very, very well for me.”

Sees improvement

Steinbach was asked what he thinks the difference is between the Twins’ offensive output this season compared to last year.

“You know, we’re swinging the bat a lot better,” he said. “Last year we had a tough time scoring runs, and so far we’re scoring a lot more runs. And I think the starting pitching, sometimes it hasn’t been really good but I think the potential is there for our starters to do well is there.”

Steinbach also said he wasn’t too concerned about the Twins offense in spring training when they could barely score a run.

“I told the guys the story about Bobby Welch one year had like a 25.00 ERA in spring training and went out and won the Cy Young,” he said of his former A’s teammate. “So spring training doesn’t mean a lot. You want to get ready and obviously you want to have a good spring, but it is what it is. It’s spring training. It’s not the season.”

All-Star changes

Steinbach said this year’s All-Star Game at Target Field will be different from when he appeared in the game, and he thinks the importance of the game now in deciding home-field advantage for the World Series is a nice improvement.

“Back when we played it, was kind of a formality thing and you went out there and wanted to do your best, but it didn’t carry the significance that it does now,” said the 1988 All-Star Game MVP. “It didn’t carry that home-field advantage. I think the importance of that All-Star Game is much greater now with the group of players that are here than what it was when I was there.”

Steinbach, who won a World Series title with Oakland in 1989, said that while winning the MVP award was a highlight of his career, it wasn’t the biggest thing.

“I think it’s a big personal thrill, to have a personal accomplishment like that. But I still think the overall thrill, and you guys experienced it here in Minnesota in ’87 and ’91, when you win that World Series, that’s the ultimate thrill,” he said.

Wild sees Leddy again

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